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Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars lead Grammy nominations

Jay-Z is the leader of the 2018 Grammy

Jay-Z is the leader of the 2018 Grammy Award nominations in a year where the top four categories are heavily dominated by rap and R&B artists, giving the often overlooked genres a strong chance of winning big. Credit: Getty Images / Nicholas Hunt

Hip-hop dominated this year’s Grammy nominations, with Jay-Z landing eight nods, including in all three top categories for songs from his uplifting “4:44” album.

He will face off against rappers Kendrick Lamar, who received seven nominations Tuesday morning, and Childish Gambino for both record and album of the year. Bruno Mars’ throwback R&B album “24K Magic” landed six nominations and will challenge Jay in the top three categories.

Julia Michaels, whose song “Issues” landed a song of the year nod, was also nominated for best new artist, against rapper Lil Uzi Vert and singers Alessia Cara, Khalid and SZA.

The 60th Grammy Awards will be handed out at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 28, the first time in 15 years that the ceremony will be held in New York instead of Los Angeles.

Jerry Seinfeld’s “Jerry Before Seinfeld” album, which includes tales of life in Massapequa, is up for best comedy album, while Billy Joel is one of the artists on “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90,” which is nominated for best traditional pop vocal album.

The hip-hop love from the Recording Academy mirrors the genre’s surge in popularity, with hip-hop and R&B topping rock as the most listened-to genre for the first time in America this year, according to Nielsen Music’s midyear report.

For record of the year, Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” will go against Lamar’s “Humble,” Mars’ “24K Magic,” Gambino’s “Redbone” and the Latin crossover juggernaut “Despacito” from Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber. “Despacito” is also up for song of the year, up against Jay-Z’s “4:44,” Michaels’ “Issues,” Mars’ “That’s What I Like” and Logic and Alessia Cara’s “1-800-273-8255.”

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For album of the year, Jay-Z’s “4:44” will take on Lamar’s “DAMN,” Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!,” Mars’ “24K Magic” and Lorde’s “Melodrama.” It marks the first time the album of the year category hasn’t had a straightforward rock or country entry in decades.

Many questioned the absence of Ed Sheeran’s “Divide” album and the No. 1 single “Shape of You” from the top categories after Sheeran won song of the year in 2016 for “Thinking Out Loud” and his “X” album was an album of the year nominee in 2015.

“I’m inspired by this year’s nominees and the incredible talent each possesses,” Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow said in a statement. “Their recordings are a true testament to how creatively alive and meaningful our music industry has become.”

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